Case: Indiana Consolidated Insurance Co. v. Mathew 402 n.e.2d 1000 Parties: Appellant (plaintiff) - Indiana Consolidated Insurance Co.

Appellee (defendant) - Mathew bench trial (tried to judge, not jury) Verdict for defendant;

Procedural History: Plaintiff appeals.

Facts: Mathew's brother had homeowner's insurance issued by plaintiff. Mathew attempted to start a riding lawnmower in his brother's garage, and the garage ended up burning down. Found that Mathew carefully filled the gas tank on the mower 3/4 with a funnel, and was adamant that he did not spill any. He then left for 20 min, so that even if some were spilled, it would have dried by then. He started the mower in the garage and noticed flames in the engine. He immediately turned the engine off, and attempted to put out the flames with clean towels. When he was unable to put out the flames, he went to call the fire dept. He was afraid to move the mower because he thought it might explode. When he came back out the garage was burned down. Issue: Was Mathew's conduct sufficient for the duty to use due care in operating the mower that an ordinary prudent man would exercise under the same or similar circumstances? Holding/Judgment: Mathew was not negligent; he acted with the due care required.

Reasoning: He was careful in filling the tank, he acted with due care. He acted reasonably in starting the engine inside the garage, as it would not be seriously expected, due to its considerable weight & size, for him to move the riding mower outside of the garage before starting it. A garage's function includes being able to start vehicles and other equipment inside it. Lastly, it would not have been reasonable for him to try to move the mower out of the garage, since he expected it to explode. Courts have held that human life and safety are always worth more than property. _________________________________________________________________________________ CLASS NOTES Did he satisfy the standard of care of a reasonable and prudent person? Insurance company argues that he didn’t satisfy the standard of care, gives 3 reasons: ○ He should have started the mower's engine outside the garage § It is not reasonable to expect him to move a mower of such weight or size out of the garage. This is what garages are used for, normal behavior. If this is usual, why would he think this situation would be different? It was not foreseeable. ○ Negligent in filling the gas tank § Appellate court says he did satisfy the standard of care. He used a funnel, and did not fill it fully only 3/4. also careful not to spill. how could he have been more careful than this? ○ Failing to push the flaming mower out of the garage § He exercised prudence in this emergency situation by calling the fire dept. If he had attempted to push it out of the garage, it may have created a situation that would put him in danger. He did exactly what a reasonable person would do, even if not in an emergency situation. Who would risk getting burned to save a mower?

How can we put a value on a human life or injury? disputed.

Those values can very well be

Risk-utility: when we compare value of properties, that's ok. But comparing value of property to value of life, this cause a lot of controversy.

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